A mob angered by rumors in Mozambique that health workers there are spreading the deadly cholera virus has killed four people have in northern part of the country.
Media reports say 12 suspects in the violence were killed later in what a prison official said was a fight in jail.
According to reports quoting the police today say 29 people had been detained for questioning in Saturday’s violence in the Quinga area of Nampula province.
The prison official, Floriano Sumane told the state radio yesterday that he had received information from police that 12 of the suspects died early Tuesday during violence inside the cell they shared.
Sumane is said to have denied reports the deaths were caused by the police opening fire on prisoners trying to escape.
The general director of prisons, Joao Zandamela, told state radio a team had been dispatched from the provincial capital to find out more about the deaths in detention.
Reports say a this bizarre chain of events began early Saturday, when a mob killed a Mozambican Red Cross volunteer, two government health workers and a policeman.
Five other Red Cross workers were seriously injured. However, authorities said rumors they were spreading the disease were false, reports say.
The dead and injured were treating cholera victims and helping with prevention and education in the area, which has been hit by the waterborne disease.
Cholera is spread by drinking contaminated water. It is easily treated, but can cause severe diarrhea and fatal dehydration.
Mozambique is one of the world’s poorest countries and is still struggling to rebuild its health and sanitation system after a long civil war. Cholera is fairly common, especially during the heavy rains of this time of year.
In neighboring Zimbabwe, cholera broke out last October. The World Health Organisation says 91 000 people have been infected so far, with more than 4000 dying from the disease.